Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Water Challenges in Developing Countries

California State University and the Center for Applied Innovation, a Chicago based 501(C)3 non-profit organization, announced today a collaboration to address water transportation challenges in the developing world as part of the Invent for Humanity™ Technology Transfer Exchange Fair (

In the developing world, women and children are charged with the responsibility of providing water for household use. As a result of large amounts of water being carried on their heads over long distances, women and children are often affected by lifelong spinal or neck injuries. Furthermore, children often attend school late or miss classes to undertake their responsibility, affecting education levels in the country.

The Q Drum, developed by Piet Hendrikse, is a durable, donut-shaped plastic container which when full holds 50 liters of water. The uniqueness of the technology lies in the design of the longitudinal shaft, or central hole, through which a rope is tied, to pull or roll the drum along all terrain types.

Q Drums are currently manufactured using linear low-density polyethylene. Due to the location of current manufacturing, the cost associated with shipping Q Drums to villages outside of Africa is actually higher than the production costs. Efforts are underway, spearheaded by the Licensing Executives Society and the Center for Applied Innovation, to identify production facilitates in the Philippines and Mexico in order to address this problem.

In preparation for the upcoming event in Geneva, the Cal State students are focused on two concurrent development paths:

1. Identification of lower-cost methods/materials for manufacturing the Q Drum in Mexico, the Philippines and South Africa.

2. Alternative design variations on the basic idea of a rolling water transporter with the ability to be made locally from sustainable materials to keep costs to an absolute minimum, provide local employment, and enable local repairs.

The Q Drum Manufacturing Campaign is anticipated to be funded during the Invent for Humanity event in Geneva this coming January. Invent for Humanity Campaigns will be funded through private donations prior to and during the event. 

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